Log in

No account? Create an account
March 2018   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Frodo Art Manip: Frodo in "The Musicians", by Caravaggio, plus a new poem by jan-u-wine.

Posted on 2010.04.30 at 21:49
Tags: , , , , ,

Frodo in The Musicians, teaser crop

I've wanted to make a Frodo manip out of this painting for a long time. It's been in my "possibles" file for years. But I never found a face that I thought fit with it. Finally I think I have.

The resulting image is rather fanciful, if thought of as a portrait of Frodo. What could be the setting? I sent the image off to jan-u-wine in the winter to see if she might want to write to it. I laughed, "Maybe he's at a toga party at Brandy Hall?" Or maybe he had been asked to sing in the Hall of Fire in Rivendell. "Sing us a song, tell us a tale, Frodo, son of Drogo!" He would say, "yes", like a good-mannered guest should. Perhaps a tale of the First Age, something full of delight, not sorrow, a tale of the Spring of Arda. "Come," he'd say to his friends, "we need to practice". Hence the pages of music lying about, the violin not yet picked up, the lute still being tuned, the whole "rehearsal" look of the scene. But whatever are the other hobbits wearing? Costumes scraped together from Elves' spare linens? I loved the manip, but could not fit it into Frodo's story as a literal illustration.

Jan-u-wine, it turned out, saw something very different in the image. She saw Frodo, post-Quest, asked to sing and play, not at a Hall of Fire or even the King's table, but an anonymous tavern in Minas Tirith. Jostling in the press of celebrants in the City's lower levels, after the first mugs raised in his honour, perhaps his celebrity could be forgotten in the slosh of drink. Perhaps he could feel like his old self, if he still had an "old self", in the noise and sweat and smoke of a close-packed crowd of hallooing and shouting foot-soldiers, stall-keepers, farmers, stable boys, pick-pockets and thieves, laughing and calling out for tales and songs. Frodo knew some songs. And one can lose oneself in singing.

I'll let Jan speak for herself, regarding Frodo in Minas Tirith. Jan-u-wine wrote,

In his journey, in his Quest, it seems to me that Frodo did not, indeed, look to events that would occur *after*. His whole will was bent towards his goal, and he likely felt that he would not live for there to be any *after*. The shock of being alive and yet so very damaged must have been another burden to be endured, with the attending fêting of himself as a hero adding to his discomfort.. That Frodo did not think himself a hero, we know. That he believed he failed we also know. Worst of all, he believed himself to be a "moral" failure. Being honoured at Cormallen must have seemed a fraud to him. Like any other returning soldier, he would no doubt have liked to simply have had, as his reward, to be "home" again. But what we and what Frodo mean when we say "home" is not simply a comfy hobbit-hole. No, *we* are part of this picture, *we* as we are in our best and most happy times. Frodo could never, thus, really return to his home.


Elements of the manip.

Source painting: Caravaggio's "The Musicians", 1596.

Note: For more about Caravaggio, see previous Art Travesty entries: 'The Lute Player', Narcissus and The Cardsharps . For more about this painting, go to Wikipedia's article, here

Face: Frodo in Bag End, FotR:

Finished manip.

Full image:

Frodo in The Musicians, full image

Enlargement, cropped:

Frodo in The Musicians, greater enlargement, cropped

In the City of the King

A cold wind
has found the City
this day,

a wind smelling of Sea-salt
and glass-green spray,

a knife-wind,
the ice-blade of it

against ruined

voice keening,


upon empty battlements.


a Ranger

before these gates....

a King


pale and gold
as fair mallorn,

played like watered silk
upon the high Tower,

blushed rose from wall
and street and throng'd turret....

caught crystal

from a jewell'd crown.

A ruled (and unruly) joy followed,
song flowing like star-lit silver,

wine staining streets which had of late
known only the heated spill of blood.

And I.

I can not get the sense of it,
this City.....

this King....


Beneath the unblinking eye
of a gilded Sun,

beneath the searching fingers of
the Sea-driven wind,

I no longer find my own


And the voices.

The living voices,
with their joy'd burden
of wonder,

fall like a dark, bitter rain
upon my ear.



The Ringbearer.

Moreso now than even before.

In these days
of peace,

in these hours
of celebration,

in these

of joy,
there are yet

for even he who

Frodo of the Shire.

Within the seventh level
of this City,

there stays a great hall,

a hall
wherein high tales

and the King's own wine
flow equally.

It is not to this hall I am bound.

Upon a scarred and winding street
of the first level
waits a door.

Perhaps I shall find myself,

its riven face.


A certain quiet

within the clamour
of this place,

boisterous bids for
food and drink

falling, at the last,
to uneven silence.

More uneven, yet, my hand,

the space this un-fingered

opens within my self.


there *is* the music,
pushing, tender

upon the dark-distanc'd places of my mind,
gentling my hand upon

sombr'd strings,

quickening my fingers
about their work,

(four fingers
clever enough

to twine a phrase,

chords and single notes

sweet upon smoke-heavy air.

in the

in the


there is a learning,
a knowing,

that touches

than this

marred hand.

A great yearning


for all the ghost'd
people and places

of late gone missing,
fills me,

voices of shadow'd memory

like the deep-hidden pools
of the Brandywine on a slow
summer day.

There is joy in this playing,

in these small remembrances,

in *this*,

my life.

Author's Note:

While working on this poem, researching events immediately leading up to Aragorn's coronation, I began to wonder about Frodo's well-being in the month that followed the destruction of the Ring. Unlike movie-verse, which reunites the hobbits in Minas Tirith (the Eagles surely had their work cut out for them!), Frodo and Sam wake in Ithilien, upon the Field of Cormallen. Scarce a month passes between the events on Mt. Doom and their departure to Minas Tirith, a month of rest and healing for Frodo, but also a month during which his original joy and relief in being rid of his burden might begin to be overshadowed by grief and growing uncertainty. Then - a voyage, by boat, away from the relative quiet and perhaps home-like feel of Ithilien. As much as this voyage was one of ending AND beginning for Aragorn, so it must have been for Frodo, as well. What should his fate be? Should he be, again, *simply* Frodo of the Shire, or would he always bear what must have seemed the dubious honour of being the Ringbearer? Aragorn journeyed towards the reuniting of his house and kingdom, as well as his marriage, certainly all joyous events. What did Frodo journey towards, what were his feelings as all around him celebrated the return of the King, the return of *normalcy* to their lives and world?

Previous art manip entry:

~ Sweerts, Michael: 'Self-portrait', plus jan-u-wine's "At the Last", 1-30-10.

Tables of Links:

~ Frodo Art Travesty LJ entries (manip presentations).

~ Album of all Frodo Art Travesties (images only—be sure to enlarge images after opening).

~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.


Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
wakerobin at 2010-05-01 05:03 (UTC) (Link)
Oh lovely. This one of the best you've ever done, and that's saying something! Technically flawless and I love that elijah/frodo's face is the most beautiful one in the pic. now! Thanks again.
mechtild at 2010-05-01 15:26 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, thank you very much. I think it's one of the best jobs I've done, too. I've done manips that required working with more pieces, but painting in the new neck and the area around the opening of the shirt (the model Mario Minniti's neck is so much thinner than EW's) was a challenge for me. I'm just an amateur at digital art, trying to figure things out intuitively on my old program, but I'm pleased with how well that area blended into the original canvas.
aussiepeach at 2010-05-01 13:02 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that is beautiful! I agree it's one of your best. Wonderful choice of face. :)
mechtild at 2010-05-01 15:28 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much, Peachy. I was wondering if I'd ever do another Frodo manip, since I've done everything I've liked that I could find a suitable face for, apart from paintings I can't find big enough copies of. There was just this one, still crying out for a Frodo face. I just had never tried a face from this scene because I didn't have a good enough screencap of it. But sometime this year someone had this copy of the scene up in their LJ, which has excellent resolution, maybe it was Mews, and I thought, "hey! This could be the one!" So I tucked it away for later.
bagma at 2010-05-01 15:15 (UTC) (Link)
Great minds thinks alike!:) *points to icon* I've always had the feeling that this painting had something very LotR-ish in it: the light, the atmosphere... Your manip is absolutely stunning, and a gorgeous tribute both to Caravaggio's talent and Frodo's beauty. Thank you for sharing it with us!
mechtild at 2010-05-01 15:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Bagma. I'm a big Caravaggio fan and have done several Frodo manips from his works, I think film-Frodo's face suits his work so well. This one gave me problems, though, trying to get a face that would suit it. As I wrote to Peachy, I hadn't wanted to use this screencap before because mine had such a soft resolution to it. Great for a screencap but not for a face to import into a painting with strong outlines. But then this high-resolution cap turned up in an LJ - it may have been Mews', I can't remember now. I tucked it away for later. "Later" has come!

As usual, I love how the change in face -- not just in feature but in expression -- changes the painting. It's quite a different piece with that Frodo face in it. I love it. I love the poem Jan wrote for it, too, which adds to the poignance of his face. I see him tuning, getting ready to play, perhaps warming up a little vocally, going through the verses, but his mind straying elsewhere.

Edited at 2010-05-01 03:35 pm (UTC)
verangel at 2010-05-01 16:15 (UTC) (Link)
in the

in the


there is a learning,
a knowing,

that touches

than this

marred hand.

A great yearning


Oh the words that so well express Jan's perspective. Its a gorgeous peice to perfectly give thought to an outstanding picture. I was awestruck with the work you did. We always know that Elijah's Frodo is a work of art and would have been a dream for the great Masters to paint. His face fits perfectly and actually enhances the portrait. His wonderous eyes and strong but gentle and totally beautiful features. Its hauntingly lovely.
Thank you both for the gifts you give. Powerful imagery with powerful words.
hugs xooxoxox tons v
mechtild at 2010-05-01 18:59 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so pleased the poem touched your heart and mind, Verangel. I thought Jan really captured something essential about Frodo, after the Quest was over -- how he coped, and how what he went through might even be transforming him, preparing him for a life lived on the other side of pain and sorrow. I'm pleased, of course, that the manip gave you pleasure. Thanks for commenting. I am very happy with the way it turned out. :)
mole_caz at 2010-05-01 16:46 (UTC) (Link)
Wow - that is so beautiful in fact I much prefer it to the original Musicians!
mechtild at 2010-05-01 19:00 (UTC) (Link)
I think I agree with you, Moley! :)
telstar_gold at 2010-05-02 15:59 (UTC) (Link)
Just fabulous! You and Jan produce so much richness in your work together. Thank you!
mechtild at 2010-05-02 18:26 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much, Telstar. I am so happy when we can enhance folk's appreciation of Frodo and Tolkien, whether through writing or art. :)
not_alone at 2010-05-02 16:31 (UTC) (Link)
You really found the perfect Frodo face for this pic, Mechtild! It's an excellent manip - and he's far more beautiful than the original lute-player!! Many thanks for sharing this with us and to Jan for her beautiful, haunting poem:)
mechtild at 2010-05-02 18:27 (UTC) (Link)
You are a love, Paulie. I'm so happy you enjoyed the manip (yes, I agree, EW's face improved upon Caravaggio's original model, both in terms of beauty and expression; don't know if Caravaggio would agree!), and the poem. I'm so pleased people are enjoying the post.
antane at 2010-05-02 17:41 (UTC) (Link)
Another masterpiece by jan-u-wine! She is very blessed and we are also to have her here with us. Love the latter parts the most when he can find some peace and happiness in the music and memories.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2010-05-02 18:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Antane. I agree. Jan is like a master painter using words when it comes to capturing Frodo and Tolkien's world.
frolijah_fan_54 at 2010-05-02 19:13 (UTC) (Link)
That is just stunning - and that face is so full of so many emotions. You are so talented and I'm so grateful that you share that with us.

And thanks. as always, to jan-u-wine for sharing another moving poem. It is one of the saddest things in the tale that Frodo was left so inwardly scarred and tormented after the Ring was destroyed. And all those who rightly honored him had no idea they were deepening his pain. It's nice to think that he did keep trying to find his life - and that he DID find life again in the West.
mechtild at 2010-05-02 20:18 (UTC) (Link)
"And all those who rightly honored him had no idea they were deepening his pain."

Isn't that an interesting truth? Maybe it is true in more lives than Frodo's.

"It's nice to think that he did keep trying to find his life - and that he DID find life again in the West."

This is one of the things that appeals to me in jan-u-wine's depictions of post-Quest Frodo. She never shies away from Frodo's dark experiences, but she also never denies him hope for transformation and renewal, even if it is only be had on the other side of the Sundering Sea.
lame_pegasus at 2010-05-02 19:29 (UTC) (Link)
Very, very good manip. And of course I like the poem!
mechtild at 2010-05-02 20:19 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Mona! I'm very pleased you liked the image and text. :)
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2010-05-03 14:58 (UTC) (Link)
That is definitely a perfect, seamless manip. Lovely work!

Jan's poem is hauntingly sad in the reaching. The image of the light on the tower is stunning--I like to think that is what Frodo is recalling in the moment caught in this pic.
mechtild at 2010-05-03 16:33 (UTC) (Link)
Those are beautiful images she made, aren't they? I feel rich when I read the poem, drenched in Tolkien's world. Thanks for stopping, Lavender. And I'm so happy you enjoyed the Caravaggio manip. I was very pleased with it myself. :)

Edited at 2010-05-03 04:33 pm (UTC)
frodosweetstuff at 2010-05-08 18:46 (UTC) (Link)
That's very well done and once more it illustrates the classical beauty that is Frolijah's. He would have been worshipped by artists in whatever century. :)

Thank you! I saved this. :)
mechtild at 2010-05-08 19:11 (UTC) (Link)
Film-Frodo and Carvaggio make a great combination. Yes, indeed. :) Thanks for stopping in, Frodosweetstuff!
(Anonymous) at 2010-05-11 03:53 (UTC) (Link)

Your Caravaggio musician

Hello there Metchild! I was just browsing YouTube for Vivaldi music and found your image used here on the VivaldiHarmony channel with the Violin Concerto in G Major RV 303. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVJcfKe7dc4 posted December 2009. Strangely enough, there is no lute in this Vivaldi piece...

I immediately recognized it as Frodo/Elijah and spent 1/2 an hour searching images online and finally traced it here!

Along the way I have really enjoyed your other manipulations of art images in your gallery. They are definite improvements on the originals in many cases.
mechtild at 2010-05-11 14:10 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Your Caravaggio musician

Ha ha! I think his face improves most of the paintings I've slipped him into, too. He has the most classic face, suited to many periods of art, but the expressions on his face change the source paintings, sometimes quite a lot. It's a pleasure to make these and see the results. I'm so glad you stopped by to comment. :)

You say you saw more of them, so I am guessing you either browsed this journal randomly or used the tables of links [to other entries presenting manips, or to the gallery of manip images] provided at the bottoms of art manip posts and in the side bar.
stillscarlet at 2010-05-19 00:01 (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic job, and a beautiful result! I should visit LJ-land more often. :D
mechtild at 2010-05-19 16:05 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much, Scarlet. I think it may be one of my best efforts. Maybe one of my last, too. I've about run out of "possibles" for film Frodo art manips. There are a lot of paintings he still could be slipped into, of course, but not ones I think would suit him as a character, or else the online files are too small. I'm happy I could finally do this one, though. He suits Caravaggio so well.

Edited at 2010-05-19 04:06 pm (UTC)
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2010-05-24 18:17 (UTC) (Link)
Gosh! what a gorgeous manip. Yes, it is one of your best. Jan's poetry is, as always, enjoyable and very moving.

Thank you ladies.

mechtild at 2010-05-25 15:23 (UTC) (Link)
Estë, I'm so glad you got to see it! I thought you'd like it. And what a poem its making drew from Jan!
Previous Entry  Next Entry